The number of women who have suffered from heart attack or are at the risk of developing a heart condition is alarming. Even though men are at a higher risk of suffer from heart diseases, they are also more likely to seek medical treatment for it.
According to statistics, women are half as likely to get treated for heart complications and twice as likely to die within six months of being discharged in comparison to their male counterparts.
Heart Attack More Dangerous for Women than Men
According to the director of Heart Foundation’s Prevention center, Julie Anne Mitchell, the shocking figures show a lack of awareness among women. Heart disease is even more lethal than breast cancer, and it kills three times as many women as the latter. Julie told Health said that most movies and televisions have reinforced the belief that heart attack is predominantly associated with men.
This is a dangerous trend that overlooks health concerns in women and is a leading cause of death due to life-threatening complications. Even if a female patient checks into the ER due to chest pains, the medical staff often dismisses the possibility that she could be having a heart attack. Often, their symptoms are attributed to other illnesses and this inaccurate diagnosis delays their treatment and by then it is already too late.
A new research shows that the unconscious bias that heart attacks are more prevalent in men than in women has led to the death of several female patients – especially in cases where they were being treated by a male doctor. What makes the issue even more complicated is the fact that heart disease or attack is very difficult to detect in women. Female patient report varying symptoms of heart attack which makes the diagnosis even complex.
A Shocking Symptom of Heart Attack
Julie says that signs of heart attack aren’t as prominent in women as they are in men, which is one of the reasons why they delay going to the hospital for treatment. Of course the most common warning sign of the condition is chest pain, and both men and women report this symptom if they are about to suffer from a heart attack. But in other cases, the signs are more subtle and don’t always involve pain.
The director of Women’s Cardiovascular Health Program in Wexner Medical Center, Laxmi Mehta says that there is an unusual symptom of heart attack that often occurs in women. Most female patient report jaw pain if they’re suffering from a serious cardiovascular complication.
Other women say that they feel pain in other parts of the body including arm or one side of the back. Fatigue and heartburn are also common symptoms of a series health issue in women – although these symptoms are also present in men. Mehta says that women don’t get any of the symptoms mentioned above but they get a sixth sense that something is not right.
Jaw pain is a strange symptom to appear in women with a heart condition, but there is a medical reason why it is more prevalent in one gender than the other. According to reports from AHA, women tend to suffer from poor blood circulation before a heart attack which can cause pain in discomfort in their jaw or other body parts.
Other symptoms in women include:
- Cold perspiration
- Difficulty in breathing
- Lightheadedness or fainting
Awareness and Prevention
If you feel unwell, it’s important to listen to your body and take immediate action. Call the emergency helpline the moment you get the feeling that something is wrong.
Getting treated immediately can increase your likelihood of survival, and the Heart Foundation is working towards raising awareness on the issue so that more women can catch early signs of a heart disease and visit their doctor before it becomes too late.
Most of the research on heart diseases and attacks involves men but the findings are very much applicable to women as well. The Heart Foundation is now funding a large-scale research to investigate the symptoms, causes and diagnosis of heart attack in women. This will contribute to the growing awareness in on the serious issue.